According to Wikipedia disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries from a supply chain. This “cutting out the middlemen” was an often used term when the internet came up at the end of the last century and is still often heard.
Another currently omnipresent sayings goes like the biggest hotel, taxi company etc. does not own one single, hotel, taxi etc.
In my point of view both could not be more wrong. Neither booking.com nor Airbnb are hotels nor is Uber a taxi company. They are all middlemen or broker if you like, clever ones though and yes they use modern trends and technology to bring together the demand and supply side.
The Internet did not cut out the middlemen, au contraire. Let’s face it middlemen are the new stars and they became bigger then we could have anticipated just a few years ago. Neither did the assets vanish, they are still owned by people or companies.
So the saying should go like the biggest travel agency still does not own a single hotel bed, the biggest minicab broker still does not own a single car but they got rid of the high-street shopfront and hired a few IT people instead. Not so catchy I know…
The question now is whether this massive rise of a view middlemen will be a lasting development, or if new trends/technologies like the blockchain will work counter wise and generate kinds of global decentralised “open source” marketplaces without the giant middlemen?